A pavlova is one of those desserts one can whip up in 15 minutes, pop in the oven before dinner guests start arriving, and have for dessert a couple of hours or so later. Or, more often than not in my case, whenever your guests stop feeling so stuffed from dinner and start feeling like they have room in their stomachs for dessert. Or make the meringue ahead and keep it in an airtight container for a day or two (depending on the humidity in your area), and then put it all together just before serving.
My first encounter with Pavlova was, aptly, in Australia. I won’t get into the tussle as to where it originates from exactly, but this dish is definitely one loved by many Australians as well as New Zealanders. I had my very first taste of it in a little café somewhere in Melbourne. Granted, the way the café made it wasn’t something memorable, but I was immediately struck by the possibilities of the dessert.
The sweet meringue base is mild enough to be the foundation of a multitude of flavours, and pairs well with lightly sweetened whipped cream, fruit, fruit-based curds, etc. There’s something about the sweet crisp base combined with the billowy cream and the tart-sweetness of fruit that is a winning combination. Continue reading